Antofagasta plc's (LON:ANTO) Fundamentals Look Pretty Strong: Could The Market Be Wrong About The Stock?

It is hard to get excited after looking at Antofagasta's (LON:ANTO) recent performance, when its stock has declined 12% over the past three months. However, a closer look at its sound financials might cause you to think again. Given that fundamentals usually drive long-term market outcomes, the company is worth looking at. In this article, we decided to focus on Antofagasta's ROE.

Return on Equity or ROE is a test of how effectively a company is growing its value and managing investors’ money. In other words, it is a profitability ratio which measures the rate of return on the capital provided by the company's shareholders.

See our latest analysis for Antofagasta

How To Calculate Return On Equity?

Return on equity can be calculated by using the formula:

Return on Equity = Net Profit (from continuing operations) ÷ Shareholders' Equity

So, based on the above formula, the ROE for Antofagasta is:

15% = US$1.5b ÷ US$10b (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2022).

The 'return' is the yearly profit. So, this means that for every £1 of its shareholder's investments, the company generates a profit of £0.15.

What Is The Relationship Between ROE And Earnings Growth?

Thus far, we have learned that ROE measures how efficiently a company is generating its profits. Depending on how much of these profits the company reinvests or "retains", and how effectively it does so, we are then able to assess a company’s earnings growth potential. Generally speaking, other things being equal, firms with a high return on equity and profit retention, have a higher growth rate than firms that don’t share these attributes.

Antofagasta's Earnings Growth And 15% ROE

To start with, Antofagasta's ROE looks acceptable. Further, the company's ROE is similar to the industry average of 16%. This certainly adds some context to Antofagasta's moderate 15% net income growth seen over the past five years.

We then performed a comparison between Antofagasta's net income growth with the industry, which revealed that the company's growth is similar to the average industry growth of 18% in the same period.

past-earnings-growth
past-earnings-growth

Earnings growth is an important metric to consider when valuing a stock. The investor should try to establish if the expected growth or decline in earnings, whichever the case may be, is priced in. Doing so will help them establish if the stock's future looks promising or ominous. One good indicator of expected earnings growth is the P/E ratio which determines the price the market is willing to pay for a stock based on its earnings prospects. So, you may want to check if Antofagasta is trading on a high P/E or a low P/E, relative to its industry.

Is Antofagasta Efficiently Re-investing Its Profits?

Antofagasta has a significant three-year median payout ratio of 78%, meaning that it is left with only 22% to reinvest into its business. This implies that the company has been able to achieve decent earnings growth despite returning most of its profits to shareholders.

Moreover, Antofagasta is determined to keep sharing its profits with shareholders which we infer from its long history of paying a dividend for at least ten years. Our latest analyst data shows that the future payout ratio of the company is expected to drop to 48% over the next three years. Regardless, the future ROE for Antofagasta is predicted to decline to 7.9% despite the anticipated decrease in the payout ratio. We reckon that there could probably be other factors that could be driving the forseen decline in the company's ROE.

Conclusion

Overall, we are quite pleased with Antofagasta's performance. We are particularly impressed by the considerable earnings growth posted by the company, which was likely backed by its high ROE. While the company is paying out most of its earnings as dividends, it has been able to grow its earnings in spite of it, so that's probably a good sign. On studying current analyst estimates, we found that analysts expect the company to continue its recent growth streak. To know more about the latest analysts predictions for the company, check out this visualization of analyst forecasts for the company.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.

This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.

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